Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Yevkurov’s Efforts to Win Support for Border Accord by Organizing Local Meetings Backfire

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 23 –Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s administration today organized meetings throughout Ingushetia to win popular support for the border accord with Chechnya. But this effort appears to have backfired, with local people denouncing the agreement and refusing to take part and masked siloviki introduced in some places to maintain order.

            In Yantar, organizers of the anti-accord demonstrations in Magas appeared to counter the official line and were reportedly warmly supported by the population. Once that happened, heavily armed and masked siloviki appeared to make sure that the situaiton did not get out of hand (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327029/).

                Opposition leaders insisted, however, that there was no basis for the introduction of troops as the meetings were peaceful exchanges of positions. They suggested that this was an attempt at provoking some reaction that the powers that be might then use against the opponents of the border accord and republic head Yevkurov. 

            Ingush in the crowds shouted at the siloviki “We are not terrorists?” and “Why have you come?”

            Opposition groups said that many of the meetings that had been scheduled were called off when no one showed up or walked away from pro-Yevkurov spokesmen.  Among htem wwere meetings in Surkhakhi and Kantyshevo. It appears, protesters said, that the authorities did not expect anyone from the opposition to appear or for people outside of Magas to be on their side.
            Meanwhile, Yevkurov was in Moscow for consulations during which he held a meeting at his republics’ permanent representation to Moscow of the Ingush community in the Russian capital. Most present were officials; and not surprisingly, they backed Yevkurov. But at the same time, he agreed to hold more such sessions in the future (kp.ru/daily/26898/3943108/).

            Other developments involving the Ingush-Chechen border dispute over the last 24 hours include:

·         Judicial procedures continued against Ingush opposition figure Magomed Khazbiyev who is accused of possessing weapons and slandering Yevkurov continues in Magas, with the accused changing defense attorneys (graniru.org/Politics/Russia/Politzeki/m.273449.html).

·         Pro-Kremlin Cossacks continued to demand that two regions now within the borders of Chechnya be transferred to Stavropol kray and handed over to the Cossacks. They explained that they were making these demands as a result of the recent Chechen-Ingush border changes, but some observers suggested their activities were a provocation (versia.ru/kazaki-zaxoteli-otobrat-u-chechni-chast-territorii and
·         Talgat Tajuddin, the head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) in Ufa who styles himself the chief mufti of Holy Rus says that any border accord between Ingushetia and Chechnya should be written by officials rather than being decided by protesters in the streets (regnum.ru/news/society/2505957.html).

·         Debates online continued over whether Ramzan Kadyrov’s visit to Ingushetia was intended to weaken Yevkurov or had some more far reaching set of consequences (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/326982/).

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